People should be extra cautious on beaches during the full moon spring tide, which peaks on Monday, the National Sea Rescue Institute said on Friday.
The tide would cause stronger than normal rip currents around the coast starting on Friday and peaking on Monday, spokesman Craig Lambinon said in a statement.
It was expected to last until January 9.
“Very strong rip currents will be present around the coast from today and over the next eight days. Bathers and shoreline anglers are most at risk and extreme caution is advised.”
Spring tides happen twice a month and bring higher than normal high tide and lower than normal low tide, which causes stronger rip currents.
“Bathers are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming or wading in water along the beachfront.
“Even bathers wading in shallow water who find themselves trapped in a rip current that forms suddenly are at risk of being swept out to sea.”
Lambinon said people caught in a rip current should not panic, tread water and not fight the current as it carried them out to sea. At the first opportunity they should swim parallel to the beach and then use incoming waves to get back to shore.
“While this is happening scream for help and wave your arm to alert people on the beach to raise the alarm,” he said.
People were urged to swim at beaches where lifeguards were on duty, and to obey their instructions. SAPA